Watson Guitars
California, USA

SOLD: 4 String Single-Cut neck-through active bass. (Serial 08B015)
Call for SPECIAL PRICING 951 659-8616

Materials: Brazilian Leopardwood top, Mahogany body. 5-piece Wenge neck with tapered stringers, dual acting truss rod and 2 carbon fiber rods. Graph-Tech Nut. 33 inch scale.
Fingerboard: Birds Eye Maple (Awesome piece of 5A)
Pickups: Watson Tapped Coil pickups (two pickups in one. Read More...)
Electronics: Watson 18 -volt 3-band with active/passive switch and balanced outputs
Bridge: Hipshot 19mm spacing
Hardware: Satin Gold
Tuners: Hipshot Ultra Light.
Finish: Satin Polyester Resin
Weight: 8lbs (3.63kg)

This bass is designed to be a slightly shorter scale version of our standard single-cut bass. It is a 33 inch scale bass which will offer a very slightly smaller instrument to those bass players who find a full-size bass slightly large and/or uncomfortable.

This is a very attractive instrument and it sounds great too. We applied a Sienna sunburst stain to the instrument and the overall finish is satin.

There are two switches on this bass. One switches the pickups between their two inbuilt coils, the other switch puts an extra gain stage into the circuit, so you can have a bit more boost when needed.  This is not dependent on the position of the "tapping" switch, which means you have the extra gain available for the full or partial taps on the pickups (the first switch).  The amount of gain is set by the multi-turn potentiometer in the control cavity.

Highslide JS
This photo shows the sienna sunburst finish and the satin gold hardware. You can also see the various laminates of the 5-piece neck behind the locking strap button.
(8/20/08) I thought I would keep adding photos of this attractive instrument while it was still here in our shop. On the left you can see the satin gold bridge and the Bloodwood control knobs. The photo on the right shows the headstock and the Hipshot Ultra-Light tuners. I really like the sound of this bass, and it is very easy to play.
Highslide JS
The headstocks on all of our basses are keps as compact as possible so that they do not contribute to neck-weight. We laminate and tint matching wood onto the headstock to match the body.

Highslide JS
This bass has a really nice overall appearance. The colors all blend beautifully and as we had hoped, the instrument is light and confortable. Sounds great too.
(8/10/08) Here are some more shots of the finished instrument. As you can see the strings are threaded through the body and the back covers are attached with our ususal magnet system. We turned the control knobs from Bloodwood. The pickup covers also have Bloodwood inlay. The two gold switches operate the pickup coil tapping.
Highslide JS
This bass has a really nice overall appearance. The colors all blend beautifully and as we had hoped, the instrument is light and confortable. Sounds great too.

Highslide JS
This bass has a really nice overall appearance. The colors all blend beautifully and as we had hoped, the instrument is light and confortable. Sounds great too.
(8/10/08) We installed all the electronic components, wired everything up and put a set of strings on the bass. It sounds very clean and punchy - with lots of clear highs and strong lows. The knobs were turned from Bloodwood to match the fret markers and the overall color of the bass. All I have to do now is finish up some of the minor intonation and truss rod adjustments and this bass will be ready to go. It weighs just under 8lbs which is about what we planned.

Highslide JS
The pickups covers on this bass were cut from the top material. They also have Bloodwood inlays on them. Satin gold hardware is by Hipshot. Birdseye on the fingerboard is beautiful.
(7/31/08) We're making some progress on this bass. as you can see in the photo to the left, the pickups have been installed and the bridge is in place. On the other side, the string ferrules are in, magnets for the control and battery cavities have been installed, and retainers for the locking strap buttons are in. At the sharp end, tuners are attached and the truss rod cover is in place. All that's left is to cut the nut and complete the electronics.

Highslide JS
This photo shows the complete copper shielding that is applied to the control cavity before the electronic components are installed.
(7/11/08) This bass has been in our shop for a few weeks waiting for me to have time to work on it. I finally got back to it today and today's task was to apply copper shielding to the control cavity and the pickup cavities. On the left you can see the control cavity and on the right is are the pickup cavities. I can now procees to fitting the pots and preamp.
Highslide JS
The pickup cavities of the bass have to be completely copper shielded to reduce the likelihood of noise interference. This is done with adhesive-backed copper sheet and tape.

Left: (5/29/08) Here's a shot of the back of the bass. It was stained to match the sunburst on the front. Looks very nice!

Below Left: This photo shows the Sienna Sunburst stain which was applied to the Brazilian Leopardwood. really makes the wood glow.

Below Right: Close up of the amazing Birdseye Maple fingerboard. This beautiful grain is like this from one end to the other. The fret markers are Bloodwood inserts.

Right: (5/15/08) This photo shows the detail on the back of the headstock.The two Padauk stringers really stand out against the darker Wenge and East Indian Rosewood. The neck is carved to be slim and comfortable for the player. You can see in the image below that the back of the body is designed for comfort an good balance.

We allowed for the ability to string the bass through the body, since we are dealing with a shorter scale (33"). This bass should look great and sound awesome!

Left: (5/1/08) The fingerboard has been glued on to the neck so we can proceed with the shaping of the neck and the area where the neck joins the body. This is a delicate process as you want to remove enough material to make the neck comfortable but not so much that you compromise the strength or integrity of the neck.

Part of it is pure engineering requiring careful measurements, part of it is just removing material until it feels right.

As you can see we have also started work on shaping the perimeter of the body. I also have to glue on the headstock veneer and drill holes to allow for the string-though-body system.

Right: (4/27/08) The photo on the right shows the combination of woods on the back of the bass. From the center out we have a strip of East Indian Rosewood which is a good wood for low frequency performance, next to that we have two strips of African Padauk. The chocolate colored wood is Wenge which is well known for its resonance and sound quality in bass guitars. The two body halves are Mahogany.

We plan to enhance the back of the bass with a tint which will bring the top and back of the instrument together.

Left: (4/27/08) This photo shows the natural grain of the Brazilian Leopardwood which we are planning to tint a reddish sunburst color to match the Bloodwood in the fingerboard and the padauk on the back of the body. You can see the amazing grain in the Birdseye Maple fingerboard - it's not often I get a piece of birdseye this nice and consistent, so this bass is guaranteed to have a show-stopping fingerboard appeal!

The frets are gold alloy. They are actually much harder than their nickel cousins and last much longer. Almost as hard as stainless steel frets. This bass has a full 2-octave 24 frets, all of which are accessible thanks to the design of lower body cutout.

Right: (2/29/08) Here we see the bass set up on the bench in the process of having the carbon fiber rods epoxied into the neck. We use a slow-setting aerospace grade epoxy to secure the two CF rods into their slots in the neck. This results in a very strong bond with the neck material. We leave this setup overnight so that the epoxy completely cures. The blue tape is to help prevent bleed out epoxy from coming in contact with the neck joint surface.

The slots you can see in the surface of the body are channels for wiring when the instrument is finally assembled. We feed power from the batteries and signal from the pickups through these slots.

Left: (12/4/07) In this photo we are gluing and clamping the lower bout of the bass to the center core. I will leave this to set overnight and glue on the upper bout sometime tomorrow. The bass will be all in one piece by Thursday this week.

I put a small pinstripe of white veneer between the two parts to match the lines in the neck. I will do the same between the mahogany body halves aqnd the Leopardwood top. This bass is starting to look very nice. I am looking forward to playing this bass. With its 33 inch scale it should be very comfortable and easy to play. We will also be using our own Watson pickups in this instrument which we are very excited about.

Right: (11/29/07) Things are moving along fairly steadily with this bass. Here we see the birds-eye maple fretboard placed on top of the brazilian leopardwood top. The two look good together color and grain wise. You can also see that the mahogany body halves have also been cut. There are still quite a few operations still to be done to the center neck/core section of the bass but we are looking forward to seeing this one in a more complete stage. If it makes it to the NAMM show it will most likely be incomplete, but at least we'll be able to show it off as an assembled instrument with perhaps a couple of weeks of work left to do on it. We plan to do some creative coloring on this bass. A nice sunburst would look good on the top.

Left: (11/26/07) Now that we have a glued-up center core to the bass we can start establishing some critical surfaces. I mounted the assembly in vises on the CNC and trued up to the neck joint surface. I start by machining the neck joint surface perfectly flat. All the other surfaces are machined from this datum. Next - I will machine the head angle and the top surface of the body. This is easy to do on the CNC with a ball end mill. After that - in the same setup, I will cut the truss rod slot and carbon fiber slots plus a few other details. I'm still undecided about the scale length.. 33 or 31 inches? I'm leaning towards 31, a true short scale bass, but I will do a little more research and decide this week.

Below: (11/25/07) Here is the completed glue-up of the center section of the bass. The clamps are holding small additional pieces which are glued on to accdommodate the outer edges of the headstock. Below: (11/23/07) The tapered laminates have been veneered on both sides and we have started to progressively glue the individual laminates together. This takes a couple of days to complete.

Left: (11/20/07) Cutting tapered stringers is a messy job, at least the way I do it. The results, however, are consistently accurate so until I find a better way I will let the wood chips fly around the shop! As you can also tell from the background - work often continues after dark! Here you can see a couple of Padauk stringers being machined to a specific size on the Ornamental Mill. The amount of taper from one end to the other depends on the width of the neck (4-string, 5-string etc.) and the number of laminates used in the neck. Once the components have been tapered we'll decide what veneers to use for the pinstriping effect between each layer of wood. We usually try to select something that contrasts nicely so that it stands out clearly after finishing.

Right: (11/18/07) Here are some of the basic components of this bass. The neck consists of outer egdes of Wenge, then two stringers of Padauk, and a single stringer of East Indian Rosewood in the center. I will separate these laminations with contrasting veneers, but we're not sure at this point what these might be. Behind the neck parts you can see the material for the top of the bass. This is Brazilian Leopardwood which I have resawn and bookmatched. It has a very nice grain and we should be able to make this top look quite spectacular with perhaps some kind of sunburst effect. The back of the body will probably be Honduras Mahogany. The fingerboard will be an awesome piece of highly figured birdseye maple.

Last update August 24, 2008